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New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; How deep are the New Orleans Saints at safety? Michael DeMocker/The Times-Picayune New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper has had a good camp, but seems to be going unnoticed. They're so deep that Pro Bowl safety Roman Harper has had ...

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Old 08-07-2010, 10:31 AM   #1
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How deep are the New Orleans Saints at safety?

Michael DeMocker/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper has had a good camp, but seems to be going unnoticed.
They're so deep that Pro Bowl safety Roman Harper has had a great camp and hardly anyone has noticed.
So deep that All-Pro safety Darren Sharper hasn't practiced a down yet and no one has batted an eye.
So deep that Chris Reis and Chip Vaughn form the third-team battery. Reis was a Super Bowl hero and the third-leading tackler on special teams. Vaughn was a fourth-round draft pick in 2009.
On another team, Reis and Vaughn would be shoo-ins to make the roster. Here, they're fighting for their NFL lives.
They're part of the most competitive, crowded position group on the Saints' roster. Top to bottom, one through seven, there's not a dud in the bunch.
There's a little something for everyone in the Saints' safety corps.
You've got your aging superstar: Sharper.
The prime-time player: Harper.
The rising young star: Malcolm Jenkins.
The savvy veteran journeyman: Pierson Prioleau.
The athletic jack-of-all-trades: Usama Young.
The overachieving special-teams ace: Reis.
The unproven but promising rookie: Vaughn.
A strong case could be made for each of them to make the final roster. Each is worthy of a job. But most likely only five will be standing when the season begins. That means at least one and probably two very good NFL-caliber players aren't going to make the cut.
It undoubtedly will be the hardest cut for the front office when it hashes out the final 53 on Sept. 4.
"Those are good decisions," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "The challenge is when you have a lot of choices to make and you don't feel good about any of them."
Four years into Payton's tenure, depth is a luxury, not an aspiration. The backup safeties on the 2006 Saints were veteran castoffs Omar Stoutmire, Bryan Scott and Jay Bellamy. Now there's the strong chance the club will have to release a recent draft pick or free agent signee to make the numbers.
There are options besides the waiver wire.
If Sharper's knee doesn't respond quickly enough, he could start the season on the physically unable to perform list. That would sideline him for the first six weeks of the season -- not the preferred option, but not a total debacle either. Sharper could use the extra time to get his knee sound, then report for duty, Roger Clemens-like, for the stretch drive.
The Saints could also try to slip Vaughn on to the practice squad. But that would require them to waive the 2009 fourth-round draft pick, and I'm not sure the club would want to risk losing him to another team.
"These things have a way of working themselves out," defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. "We're going to cut players on this team that are going to play elsewhere this season in the National Football League. I've coached on teams before where that wasn't the case."
This embarrassment of riches has occurred partly by design and partly by accident.
Sharper, Prioleau and Vaughn were targeted upgrades. But Young and Jenkins were switched to the position from cornerback. They're lagniappe. And now the Saints have some very tough decisions to make.
"I try to stay away from that," Young said. "Because that's just going to stress you out, trying to figure out the front office's decision. It's already a tough job, trying to focus on what you have to do out on the field and in film study."
Prioleau knows the drill. The 12-year veteran has been cut twice in his career. He's a career backup who has lived most of his career on the NFL bubble. He knows what it takes to compete for and earn a full-time job at the highest level.
"If you consume yourself with the numbers game, then you're distracting yourself from the work," Prioleau said. "And ultimately, if you distract yourself from the work, then you're only helping them figure out the numbers."
"You'd like to say that everyone plays so well that they can't let anyone go. Maybe they'll take some numbers from another position."
If the Saints were truly taking their "best 53," that's exactly what they'd do.

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Old 08-07-2010, 10:35 AM   #2
 
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Young or Proileau gets cuts, IMHO.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Harper
Sharper
Jenkins
Vaughn
Young

Reis/Preiloux gone. One may get a 6 week stay of execution if Sharper goes on PUP.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Reis where would we be without him !!!! he stays.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
Reis where would we be without him !!!!.
If he ever has to play safety we're in big trouble.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
Harper
Sharper
Jenkins
Vaughn
Young

Reis/Preiloux gone. One may get a 6 week stay of execution if Sharper goes on PUP.
I see that spot on. Now the question would be- which one of the two gets the reprieve?
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:52 PM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
Harper
Sharper
Jenkins
Vaughn
Young

Reis/Preiloux gone. One may get a 6 week stay of execution if Sharper goes on PUP.
That's what I'm thinking.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
Harper
Sharper
Jenkins
Vaughn
Young

Reis/Preiloux gone. One may get a 6 week stay of execution if Sharper goes on PUP.
Ok you might be right
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:34 PM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

I still dont see how Usama Y..makes it..he is not as good P.P..in a pinch for saftey..
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:59 AM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints depth at safety makes for intense competition

Originally Posted by strato View Post
I still dont see how Usama Y..makes it..he is not as good P.P..in a pinch for saftey..
I think being Usama's 2nd season at FS he probably is as good as or very close to P.P. now, and he's a better special teamer and he's very young.

Add to that the fact that if Prielou is a final cut, chances are he'll be unemployed for a while. We can always bring him back if necessary.

For a 4th/5th safety, I'd go youth with upside over an aging last gasp veteran.

Usama didn't look that bad at safety last year. And that was his 1st year doing it.
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